Agency VA 1026
Ministry of Consumer Affairs
About this Agency Records Related Functions Related Agencies
Date Range: 1974 - 1992
 
Description of this AgencyDescription of this Agency
Establishment

The origins of consumer protection in Victoria are to be found in legislation relating to the labelling of goods administered by the Department of Labour and Industry. However, the Consumer Protection Act 1964 was the first specific legislation to provide protection for consumers.

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs was established under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs Act 1973 (No.8442) on 3 June 1974. to protect and promote the interests of consumers.

A Minister and Director were appointed and The Ministry superseded the Consumer Protection Bureau (VA 2735). and the Consumer Affairs Council which were brought together under the umbrella of the Ministry. Two statutory authorities were also created, the Motor Car Traders Committee and the Small Claims Tribunal.

Between 1974 and 1981 the Ministry remained subordinate to the Department of Labour and Industry which controlled the Ministry's finances and personnel. In 1981 it became a Department of State in its own right.

Following significant machinery of government changes after the election of the first Kennett Government in October 1992, the Department of Justice (VA 3085) was established. Under Administrative Arrangements Order No.114 the Department assumed most functions of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.

Functions

The functions of the Ministry are:

to protect and promote the interests of consumers
to investigate any matter affecting such interests
to advise and co-operate with government departments, statutory authorities and municipalities
to initiate, promote and encourage practices for the protection of consumers
to inform consumers of their rights and responsibilities
to administer the Consumer Protection Act 1972

Residential Tenancy

The Residential Tenancies Act 1980 (No.9514) consolidated and updated legislation relating to a wide range of tenancy matters including rents, repairs and maintenance, use and conditions of premises and the termination of leases. Prior to the commencement of the Act, the Rental Investigation Bureau, located within the Law Department (VA 864), had endeavoured to investigate and negotiate resolutions to complaints of excessive rent. Upon the establishment under the Act of the Residential Tenancies Tribunal (VA 1615) and the Residential Tenancies Bureau (within the Ministry of Consumer Affairs) the functions of the Rental Investigation Bureau were provided with a legislative basis and transferred to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and the Tribunal. The establishment of the Residential Tenancies Tribunal also brought functions and powers previously held by Fair Rents Boards (VA 2586) for the determinations of rent of prescribed premises into the portfolio of the Minister of Consumer Affairs.

Whilst the Tribunal is a statutory body which reports directly to the Minister, it works closely with the Ministry for Consumer Affairs in administering the Residential Tenancies Act. In particular, the Ministry has a role in raising public awareness of tenancy issues, in seeking to resolve disputes prior to legal action being taken and in further developing policy and legislation in relation to residential tenancy. When the Tribunal commenced operations, the Residential Tenancies Bureau was established within the Ministry to carry out these functions and provide administrative support to the Tribunal. Internal restructuring has seen the Bureau incorporated into the Ministry's Adjudication Division.

Small Claims Tribunal

Like the Residential Tenancies Tribunal, the Small Claims Tribunal (VA 1616) reports upon its operations directly to the Minister for Consumer Affairs and receives administrative support from the Ministry through the Adjudication Division. It works closely with the Ministry in seeking to resolve disputes prior to recourse to adjudication and in promoting awareness of consumer rights and obligations.

Weights and Measures

In 1984 the Ministry assumed responsibility for the central administration functions of the Weights and Measures Act 1958 including ensuring the accurate measurement of physical quantities in trading transactions.

Prices

In 1985 responsibility for matters relating to the regulation of fuel prices was assumed by the Department of Industry, Technology and Resources (VA 2661).

In September 1989 the Minister of Consumer Affairs became responsible for the monitoring of prices and for price restraint programs carried out by the Office of Prices. The Ministry of Consumer Affairs has since that time been responsible for providing corporate services support to the Office of Prices.

Location of Records

See List of Holdings, 2nd edition 1985, section 3.7.0.

 
More Research resourcesMore Research resources
Record series created by this AgencyRecord series created by this Agency
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Date Range Series Title Series Number Series Location Public Access
1865 - 1970 Minutes of Comparison VPRS 1904 North Melbourne Part Open
1950 - 1994 Conference Proceedings, Reports and Other Papers [Weights and Measures Branch] VPRS 9525 North Melbourne Open
1974 - 1985 Central Correspondence Files, Multiple Number System VPRS 8890 North Melbourne Part Open
1975 - 1989 General Correspondence Files, Multiple Number System [Weights and Measures Branch] VPRS 9524 North Melbourne Open
1985 - 1995 General Correspondence Files, Annual Single Number System VPRS 11082 North Melbourne Part Open
1990 - 1991 Unserialised Records [NOT HELD IN ARCHIVES] VPRS 8177 Other Not Applicable
Circa 1978 - Circa 1985 Index to General Correspondence Files, Multiple Number System VPRS 14618 North Melbourne Open
Functions for which this Agency has or has had primary responsibilityFunctions for which this Agency has or has had primary responsibility
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Date of Responsibility Function Title Function Number
1974 - 1992 Consumer protection VF 141
1981 - 1992 Rental disputes, investigation of VF 471
- 1985 Fuel prices regulation VF 261
1989 - 1992 Prices monitoring VF 198
1989 - 1992 Retail trading hours VF 259
1990 - 1992 Shop registration VF 255
Functions for which this Agency has or has had secondary responsibilityFunctions for which this Agency has or has had secondary responsibility
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Date of Responsibility Function Title Function Number
Superior AgenciesSuperior Agencies
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Date of Relationship Agency Title Agency Number
1974 - 1981 Department of Labour and Industry VA 1027
Subordinate AgenciesSubordinate Agencies
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Date of Relationship Agency Title Agency Number
1975 - 1983 Consumer Affairs Bureau VA 2736
1990 - 1990 Victoria Archaeological Survey (previously known as Archaeological and Aboriginal Relics Office 1972-1975) VA 1802
1990 - 1991 Aboriginal Affairs, Victoria (known as Department of Aboriginal Affairs 1991-1992) VA 3101
Related AgenciesRelated Agencies
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Date of Relationship Agency Title Agency Number
Groups containing this AgencyGroups containing this Agency
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Date of Relationship Group Title Group Number
1974 - 1981 Labour and Industry VRG 42
1974 - 1992 Consumer Affairs VRG 63